Jurassic Code

Don’t worry, a fierce virtual T-rex is not going to invade the real world !

As a developper, sure you’ve heard about some programming languages coming directly from the Jurassic era and some of you sure know where to find them in use.

For those who don’t, the short answer is COBOL and FORTRAN used in banks, administrations or scientific fields.

On one hand, It can be frightening to know that banks and some administrations are still running under COBOL and that some “à-la-pointe” (state-of-the-art) Labs or even NASA are running some FORTRAN, both aged with a venerable 50ish to 70ish years old.

But on the other hand, that shows how stable those languages are if we can rely on them to manage the heart of the mondial economy or even send people to the moon. (if not some $DOGE).

Despite stability, it is without saying that those dinosaurus have been surpassed by more popular technologies such as Python, Julia, etc … 

This implies that it is now getting harder to find developers whose abilities and knowledge could help maintain, fix current code or develop new one.

We saw a direct impact of this situation when, due to the corona some US’s administration got in trouble with their system coded in COBOL. The impact was not dramatic as a T-rex running in the town, but such a situation in the banks or space could be quite devastating.

So should we dump all those codes and rewrite them with new technologies or should we try to live in peace with them ? Hard to answer. 

But some are trying hard to make a revival at least for FORTRAN, even if they know it might be a lost cause.

And you can check what they have to say here :  Resurrecting FORTRAN

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